COTA was the next stop for the FIA World Endurance Championship this past weekend, and with Krohn racing’s past three years full time in WEC, it was a great opportunity to get a chance to be a part of this first-class and worldwide platform of sports cars again.
With Krohn Racing being based in Houston, Texas, just a couple of hours away, COTA is considered a home event for us, so we were really exited about running the Ferrari F458 Italia in the GTE-Am category.
Even before the activities started at the track, I had the pleasure and honor to be part of a hospital visit with the Austin Hatcher Foundation, to meet and spend some time with kids being treated at the Dell Children’s Hospital.
Nothing is more rewarding than be able to do something for others and I encourage everyone to get involved with organizations like this to help spread the message and put a smile on these kids faces.
After that we got to meet the Mayor of Austin and be a part of declaring Wednesday, September 17th “Lone Star Le Mans Day.” That was a big press event and a good way to kick off the race week activities.
Practice started Thursday morning and we went through the regular routine to make sure all systems were working normally, get familiar with the track and get a good feel for the car.
Everything was working as expected. Night practice became more interesting than normal when the weather changed and we had a huge rain storm with lots of thunder and lightning. They had to delay the session for about one hour because it was dangerous for the corner workers to be out on their stations with the lightning going on.
When the worst had blown by we were able to get our minimum of three required laps in to be eligible to drive in the dark for the race.
Friday looked better from a weather standpoint and we worked on the set up of the car. We thought we had found a good balance for the race. Tracy and I were selected to qualify. WEC has a little different way of doing qualifying where two drivers qualify in a 20-minute session and the best two laps from each drivers combines and the average speed is your qualifying time.
About five minutes before the session it started to rain on the back portion of the track, so when I went out. It was wet enough for intermediate tires in the back but dry for slicks on the rest of the track.
During Tracy’s run the track dried out and he got a chance to feel what the car was like with some of the new set-up.
Our race was not scheduled to start until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday but we stayed pretty busy with autograph session at 9:30 a.m. followed by a live auction for the Austin Hatcher Foundation in the Krohn Racing garage. We had lots of cool items donated by Krohn Racing and different teams and raised over $3,000 for the charity.
I was selected to start the race and the car was good for the first half of my stint before it started to lose grip and I struggled with the leader pace. I managed to hang on and hand it over to Tracy.
Thirty minutes into his stint the sky open again and we had a huge downpour with cars going of all over the place. Tracy made it back to the pits, put rain tires on and went back out for a few laps before they red flagged the race for about one hour. With us making a pit stop for tires we were in great shape since very few cars pitted before the red flag.
Unfortunately the chief steward decided to change the rule. About 10 minutes before they decided to go back to racing on a wet track with rain falling, they allowed all cars who had not pitted for rain tires yet to change their tires on the grid. This made us lose out since we had already been to the pits, loosing a lap, while the other cars were either sitting in a gravel trap or still running and they basically got a free pit stop.
We were then a lap down on the leaders and had to focus on finishing and bringing the car home in one piece. I got back in about one hour from the end and the car was really good. We ran a good pace and finished sixth after a drama-filled day.
Next stop for us is Petit Le Mans and Road Atlanta in one week. This is in my backyard, as I live about 20 minutes from the track and can sleep in my own bed! I’m really looking forward to this race since I think we are going to have a good and competitive car. It will be great to have my family and friends come out and watch the races.
I’m also extremely excited about the announcement Tracy Krohn and Krohn Racing made over the weekend at COTA that we are going LMP2 racing in 2015. This is going to be lots of fun!
Hope to see you at the races.